Cape Gazette
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Voting rights: quantity or quality?

By Armand Carreau | Aug 18, 2013

Is increasing voter turnout a good idea? Or are we encouraging low-information voters to vote without a clue, in the name of democracy? A feel-good choice?

There are some who insist every legal-aged person should vote. They don’t seem to be concerned about sobriety, drug use, mental instability, cluelessness, gamesmanship or even citizenship. Does this really make sense? Isn’t this rigging the system for failure?

If a person is teaching your child, wouldn’t you want to know that the teacher is trustworthy, has your child’s safety and wellbeing at heart, is teaching important subjects and life lessons, and preparing your child to be independent, and able to think for him or herself?

If someone is running for office, wouldn’t you want to be sure he/she is honest and ethical, understands the Constitution he/she is sworn to protect, espouses policies that are commonsense, doesn’t waste taxpayer money, and represents all constituents to the best of his/her ability?

Voting allows us to have a say in the kind of society we will live in, the direction of our country and how we interact with the rest of the world, and how we maintain a vision for our future and our progeny. Is that any less important than the care of our children, or the laws and regulations that help us live as a society today?

I do not profess to know the best way of qualifying voters, but it makes sense that a voter should be competent and know something of American history and culture, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, an understanding of our political system, and the constant danger of internal or external threats to our liberty, as well as the major political issues of the day.

I do believe voter photo ID should be a requirement, and a University of Delaware poll shows 74 percent of Americans agree. It is probable that individual voter fraud is almost undetectable without photo ID.

Our founders had a qualifier for voters; you had to be an educated male with some success in business or as a professional, to vote. I am not advocating going back 235 years, but I think it is interesting that our founders had a much more rigorous standard than just being 18 or over, and still breathing. I am advocating discriminating against the clueless.

Food for thought and a debate worth having.

Armand Carreau
Bridgeville

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